Numer 13 (1/2020)
Captive Minds. Normativities and Protests
Redaktor: Małgorzata Poks
Spis treści
Strony
Pobierz
Paweł Jędrzejko
Tragedy/Irony. A Reflection on Engaged Poetry and Time
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9622
5 – 17
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Streszczenie

Unlike a few decades ago, today—safe in our privilege—we, the people of the western culture, are allowed to protest. Irrespective of the brutality of the riot police and despite evident instances of the abuse of justice, the consequences of participation in peaceful demonstrations are incomparably less serious than it was the case in the early 1950s, 60s or even 80s...

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Małgorzata Poks
Captive Minds. Norms, Normativities and the Forms of Tragic Protest in Literature and Cultural Practice
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9623
19 – 26
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Streszczenie

As a foundation and product of grand narratives, norms apply to any and every aspect of individual, communal, and social life. They regulate our behaviors, determine directions in the evolution of arts and philosophies, condition intra- and cross cultural understanding, organize hierarchies. Yet—when transformed into laws—norms become appropriated by dominant discourses and become “truths.” Those in control of language always construe them as “universal” and, as such, “transparent”...

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Giorgio Mariani
Emerson’s Superhero
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7771
27 – 51
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Słowa kluczowe

Ralph Waldo Emerson | anti-war movement | protest move-ments

Streszczenie

After offering some preliminary remarks on the notion of what makes a “captive mind,” the article shifts its attention to one of the most significant and yet relatively neglected early essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the essay “War.” This text, I argue, deserves not only to be considered the (largely forgotten) founding document of the American anti-war movement, but it remains important even today, as it sheds light on the inevitable contradictions and double-binds any serious movement against war and for social justice must face. It is a text, in other words, which helps us highlight some of the problems we run into—both conceptually and practically—when we try to free our minds from a given mindset, but we must still rely on a world that is pretty much the out-come of the ideologies, customs, and traditions we wish to transcend. To imagine a world free of violence and war is the age-old problem of how to change the world and make it “new” when the practical and intellectual instruments we have are all steeped in the old world we want to abolish. Emerson’s thinking provides a basis to unpack the aporias of what, historically speaking, the antiwar movement has been, both inside and outside the U.S. The article concludes by examining some recent collections of U.S. pacifist and anti-war writings, as providing useful examples of the challenges antiwar, and more generally protest movements, must face.

Afiliacja

Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy
John Matteson
Mailer, Doctorow, Roth. A Cross-Generational Reading of the American Berserk
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7566
53 – 74
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Słowa kluczowe

literature | protest | radicalism | liberalism | conscience | Nor-man Mailer | E. L. Doctorow | Philip Roth

Streszczenie

Of all American paradoxes, none is greater than this: that the typical American cherishes free speech but is almost mortally offended by public protest, which he regards as at best lacking in taste and at worst an outright crime. A nation founded on dissent, America is exquisitely uncomfortable with illmannered disagreement. More than freedom itself, an American is likely to value moral insularity and absolution: he wants to live his life free from ethical challenge. He seeks suburban anesthesia, a life of commercial abundance untroubled by the pain inflicted elsewhere to maintain it, whether through military aggression or the global exploitation of labor. The American hopes to be reminded that he is good and blameless—and quickly condemns his critics as envious or mad or driven by dark agendas. As by an unwritten law, he denounces protest as an offense against his amour propre. This condemnation, ipso facto, makes a figurative criminal of the protester, who, when her efforts are scorned, finds herself not trying to persuade, but acting in a spirit of resentment and self-vindication. She sees any act by her countryman that does not challenge the social system as intolerable evidence of complicity and collaboration. The spirit of compromise vanishes, and the protester risks falling into the attitude described by Philip Roth as “the American berserk.” My article examines this process of polarization through three indispensable American novels of protest: Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night; E.L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel; and Philip Roth’s American Pastoral.

Afiliacja

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, USA
Manuel Broncano Rodríguez
A Literary History of Mental Captivity in the United States. Blood Meridian, Wise Blood, and Contemporary Political Discourse
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7623
75 – 97
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Słowa kluczowe

Cormac McCarthy | Blood Meridian | U.S. foreign policy | Presi-dent Trump | President Putin

Streszczenie

On July 15, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held a summit in Helsinki that immediately set off a chain reaction throughout the world. By now, barely two months later, that summit is all but forgotten for the most part, superseded by the frantic train of events and the subsequent bombardment from the media that have become the “new normal.” While the iron secrecy surrounding the conversation between the two dignitaries allowed for all kinds of speculation, the image of President Trump bowing to his Russian counterpart (indeed a treasure trove for semioticians) became for many observers in the U.S. and across the world the living proof of Mr. Trump's subservient allegiance to Mr. Putin and his obscure designs. Even some of the most recalcitrant GOPs vented quite publicly their disgust at the sight of a president paying evident homage to the archenemy of the United States, as Vercingetorix kneeled down before Julius Cesar in recognition of the Gaul’s surrender to the might of the Roman Empire. For some arcanereason, the whole episode of the Helsinki summit brought to my mind, as in a vivid déjà vu, Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian and more specifically, the characters of Judge Holden and the idiotic freak who becomes Holden's ludicrous disciple in the wastelands of Arizona. In my essay, I provide some possible explanations as to why I came to blend these two unrelated episodes into a single continuum. In the process, I briefly revisit some key texts in the American canon that fully belong in the history of “mental captivity” in the United States, yet to be written. Obviously, I am not in hopes of deciphering the ultimate reasons for current U.S. foreign policy, and the more modest aim of my article is to offer some insights into the general theme of mental captivity through a novel and a textual tradition overpopulated with “captive minds.”

Afiliacja

Texas A&M International University, USA
Monika Kocot
A Celebration of the Wild. On Earth Democracy and the Ethics of Civil Disobedience in Gary Snyder’s Writing
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7619
99 – 122
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Słowa kluczowe

Zen | Gary Snyder | the Wild | interconnectedness | Interbeing | rivers | mountains | Ch’an|
Tao

Streszczenie

The article attempts to shed light upon the evolution of Gary Snyder’s “mountains-and-rivers” philosophy of living/writing (from the Buddhist anarchism of the 1960s to his peace-promoting practice of the Wild), and focuses on the link between the ethics of civil disobedience, deep ecology, and deep “mind-ecology.” Jason M. Wirth’s seminal study titled Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis provides an interesting point of reference. The author places emphasis on Snyder’s philosophical fascination with Taoism as well as Ch’an and Zen Buddhism, and tries to show how these philosophical traditions inform his theory and practice of the Wild.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Łódzki
Małgorzata Poks
“Where Butchers Sing Like Angels,” Of Captive Bodies and Colonized Minds (With a Little Help from Louise Erdrich)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7650
123 – 144
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Louise Erdrich | decoloniality | species war | normative humanity

Streszczenie

The Master Butchers Signing Club—Louise Erdrich’s “countehistory” (Natalie Eppelsheimer) of the declared and undeclared wars of Western patriarchy—depicts a world where butchering, when done with precision and expertise, approximates art. Fidelis Waldvogel, whose name means literally Faithful Forestbird, is a sensitive German boy turned the first-rate sniper in the First World War and master butcher in his adult life in America. When Fidelis revisits his homeland after the slaughter of World War II, Delphine, his second wife, has a vision of smoke and ashes bursting out of the mouths of the master butchers singing onstage in a masterful harmony of voices. Why it is only Delphine, an outsider in the Western world, that can see the crematorium-like reality overimposed on the bucolic scenery of a small German town? Drawing on decolonial and Critical Animal Studies, this article tries to demystify some of the norms and normativities we live by.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Sonia Caputa
Resistance and Protest in Percival Everett's Erasure
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7567
145 – 157
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Słowa kluczowe

protest | resistance | Percival Everett | literary canon

Streszczenie

As argued by the literary critic Margaret Russett, Percival Everett “unhinges ‘black’ subject matter from a lingering stereotype of ‘black’ style [and] challenges the assumption that a single or consensual African-American experience exists to be represented.” The author presents such a radical individualism in his most admired literary work published in 2001. In Erasure, Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison, the main character and narrator of the book, pens a stereotypically oriented African American novel that becomes an expression of “him being sick of it”; “an awful little book, demeaning and soul-destroying drivel” that caters for the tastes and expectations of the American readership but, at the same time, oscillates around pre-conceived beliefs, prejudices, and racial clichés supposedly emphasizing the ‘authentic’ black experience in the United States. Not only is Erasure about race, misconceptions of blackness and racial identification but also about academia, external constraints, and one’s fight against them. The present article, therefore, endeavors to analyze different forms of resistance and protest in Percival Everett’s well-acclaimed novel, demonstrating the intricate connections between the publishing industry, the impact of media, the literary canon formation and the treatment of black culture.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
John Eric Starnes
Black Flag under a Grey Sky. Forms of Protest in Current Neo-Confederate Prose and Song
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7587
159 – 181
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Słowa kluczowe

neo-Confederate | radical fiction | racist revolutionary subcul-ture | U.S. cultural history

Streszczenie

While ‘tragic’ protest and protest songs are normally conceived of as originating on the political left of American culture, in recent years protest from the political right, specifically the racist right has flown under the cultural radar of most researchers of American studies. This article strives to explore the ways in which the neo-Confederate movement is currently protesting the state of cultural, political, and social affairs in the contemporary American South. The neo-Confederate movement is one of the oldest forms of ‘conservative’ protest present in the United States, originating out of the defeat of the Confederacy and the civic religion of the ‘Lost Cause’ of the last decades of the 1800s into the first three decades of the 1900s. Since the neo-Confederate movement is both revolutionary and conservative, it is possible to derive some valuable insights into the contemporary reactionary politics of the right by examining a brief sampling of the protest songs, novels, and essays of this particular subculture.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Michał Kisiel
Violence Hates Games? Revolting (against) Violence in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games U.S.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7412
183 – 196
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Słowa kluczowe

violence | cinema | Haneke | Affect | brutality | Funny Games U.S.

Streszczenie

This article aims at exploring Haneke’s Funny Games U.S. as a protest against violence employed in the mainstream cinema. Satisfying compensatory needs of the spectators, constructing their identities, and even contributing to the biopolitics of neoliberalism, proliferating bloodthirsty fantasies put scholars in a suspicious position of treating them as either purely aesthetical phenomena or exclusively ethical ones. Haneke’s film seems to resist such a clear-cut binary; what is more, it contributes immensely to the criticism of mainstream cinematic violence. Misleading with its initial setting of a conventional thriller, Haneke employs absurd brutality in order to overload violence itself. The scenes of ruthless tortures are entangled in the ongoing masquerade, during which swapping roles, theatrical gestures, and temporary identities destabilize seemingly fixed positions of perpetrators and their victims, and tamper with the motives behind the carnage. As I argue, by confronting its spectators with unbearable cruelty devoid of closing catharsis, Funny Games deconstructs their bloodthirsty desire of retaliation and unmasks them as the very reason for the violence on screen. Following, among others, Jean-Luc Nancy and Henry A. Giroux, I wish to demonstrate how Haneke exhausts the norm of acceptable violence to reinstate such a limit anew.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Murat Göç-Bilgin
Posthumanity and the Prison-House of Gender in Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7621
197 – 213
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Słowa kluczowe

gender | Douglas Coupland | Microserfs | posthuman | cyborg theory

Streszczenie

This article aims to analyze Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs with a deliberate emphasis on posthuman theory, body politics, and gender to construe the transformation of the human body, human-machine nexus, and captivity in inhumanity with a struggle to (re)humanize minds and their bodies. One of the arguments of the paper will be that posthumanism offers a new outlet for breaking the chains of captivity, that is, escaping into non-human to redefine humanity and to emancipate the human mind and human body to notch up a more liberated and more equitable definition of humanity. As gender and sex are further marked by the mechanical and mass-mediated reproduction of human experiences, history, and memory, space and time, postmodern gender theories present a perpetual in-betweenness, transgression and fluidity and the dissolution of grand narratives also resulted in a dissolution of the heteronormative and essentialist uniformity and solidity of the human body. Gender in a posthuman context is characterized by a parallel tendency for reclaiming the possession of the body and sexual identity with a desire to transform the body as a physical entity through plastic surgery, genetic cloning, in vitro fertilization, and computerization of human mind and memory. Therefore, the human body has lost its quality as gendered and sexed and has been imprisoned in an embodiment of infantile innocence and manipulability, a “ghost in the machine,” or a cyborg, a hybrid of machine and organism (Haraway). The human-machine symbiosis, then, is exteriorized and extended into a network of objects switching “natural human body” to an immaterialized, dehumanized, and prosthetic “data made flesh.” In this regard, Coupland’s Microserfs boldly explores the potential of posthuman culture to provide a deconstruction of human subjectivity through an analysis of human and machine interaction and to demonstrate how human beings transgress the captivity of humanity by technologizing their bodies and minds in an attempt to become more human than human.

Afiliacja

Manisa Celal Bayar Üniversitesi, Turcja
Monika Kołtun
The Tragedy of a Whistleblower. Adamczewski’s Tragic Protest and the Case of Chelsea Manning
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9620
215 – 233
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Słowa kluczowe

whistleblower | tragic protest | archetype | Chelsea Manning

Streszczenie

Bringing most carefully guarded secrets into light, political whistleblowers deconstruct the essential oppositions upon which superpower ideologies are founded: they draw popular attention to what has been relegated to the margins of the dominant discourses. Torpedoing the reputations of the most powerful organizations in the world,and well aware of the inevitability of retaliation, they put themselves in a most precarious position. Fighting against impossible oddsin the name of the greater good, facing the gravity of the consequences, they become heroes in the classical sense of the word: arguably, their dilemmas are not unlike those faced by Antigone, Hamlet and other iconic figures in history, literature and mythology. Such is the central premiseof this article. The methodological frame for the analysis of the materialin this study has been adopted from Zygmunt Adamczewski’sThe Tragic Protest, whose theory, bringing together classical and modern approaches to tragedy, allows for the extrapolation of the principles underlyingthe protest of such iconic figures as Prometheus, Orestes, Faust, Hamlet, Thomas Stockman or Willy Loman to discourses outside the grand narratives of culture. His theory of the tragic protest serves as a tool facilitating the identification of the features of a quintessential tragic protester, which Adamczewski attains by means of the study of the defining traits of mythological and literary tragic heroes. It is against sucha backdrop that I adapt and apply Adamczewski’s model to the studyof materials related to Chelsea Manning in search of parallels that locate her own form of protest in the universal space of tragedy.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Federica Perazzini
Paradigms of Otherness. The American Savage in British Eighteenth-Century Popular and Scholarly Literature
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7810
235 – 258
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Słowa kluczowe

American savages | public sphere | popular literature | Scottish Enlightenment | British Empire

Streszczenie

In this article, I trace the changes in the literary and material representations of the indigenous peoples of North America within the British sphere of cultural production. As a first example, I give an account of the episode of the “Four Iroquois Kings” envoy at Queen Ann’s court in 1710, focusing on the resonance of such a historical encounter in popular texts and iconographic material. As a second example, I analyze the popular story of Inkle and Yarico included in Richard Steele’s The Spectator in 1711, showing its impact on the early Enlightenment reflections on colonial trade. In my conclusion, I examine the role of American natives in the scholarly works of the Scottish Enlightenment, in order to show how they were used as comparable types for the observation of the roots of European civilizations thus justifying the construction of the British imperial hegemony both geopolitical terms and discursive practice.

Afiliacja

Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy
Antonio Barrenechea
Dracula as Inter-American Film Icon: Universal Pictures and Cinematográfica ABSA
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.8908
259 – 277
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Słowa kluczowe

cinema | Dracula | hemispheric | inter-American | mexploitation

Streszczenie

My essay explores the vampire cinema of Hollywood and Mexico. In particular, I trace the relationship between Universal Pictures as the progenitor of horror during the Great Depression and Cinematográfica ABSA’s “mexploitation” practices. The latter resulted in the first vampire film in Latin America—El vampiro (1957). Rather than strengthening separatist national cinemas, the unintended consequences of genre film production make this a case of inter-American scope.

Afiliacja

University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg, VA, USA
Sara Khalili Jahromi
Emerson in Iran: The American Appropriation of Persian Poetry by Roger Sedarat (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9624
279 – 284
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Słowa kluczowe

Persian Poetry | Roger Sedarat

Afiliacja

Université Paris Sorbonne, Francja
Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Dos narizones no se pueden besar. Trayectorias, usos y prácticas de la tradición Orisha en Yucatán by Nahayelli Beatriz Juárez Huet (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9625
285 – 290
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Nahayelli Beatriz Juárez Huet

Afiliacja

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Meksyk
IASA Statement of Support for the Struggle Against Racialized Violence in the United States
291 – 293
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Streszczenie

The International American Studies Association is dismayed to see the explosion of anger, bitterness and desperation that has been triggered by yet another senseless, cruel and wanton act of racialized violence in the United States. We stand in solidarity with and support the ongoing struggle by African Americans, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and the marginalized against the racialized violence perpetrated against them...

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International American
https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS
ISSN 1991-2773
Studies Association
e-ISSN 1991-2773